Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


William Ives (1709–1764)

Mayor of Oxford 1738/9, 1749/50, and 1763/4

William Ives was baptised at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 12 August 1709. He was the son of William Ives (matriculated as an apothecary by the University of Oxford in 1696) and Elizabeth Pearson, who were both described as being of St Martin’s parish when they married at Christ Church Cathedral on 15 September 1696. They settled in St Mary-the-Virgin parish and had the following children:

  • Ann Ives (baptised on 8 August 1697 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church)
  • Joseph Ives (born on 6 July 1698, baptised on 14 July 1698 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church)
  • Elizabeth Ives (born on 24 December 1699, baptised at St Mary-the-Virgin Church later the same month)
  • Esther Ives (born on 22 February 1700/1, baptised on 9 March 1700/1 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church)
  • Mary Ives (born on 25 October 1702, baptised on 28 October 1702 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church);
    buried there on 1 December 1703)
  • William Ives I (born 15 October 1704, baptised on 16 October 1704 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church;
    buried there on 2 May 1708)
  • Sarah Ives (born 16 January 1705/6, baptised on 17 January 1705/6 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church)
    buried there on 24 May 1708)
  • William Ives II (baptised on 12 August 1709 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church)
  • John (baptised on 11 September 1711 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church).

William Ives junior was apprenticed to Christopher Matthews, a grocer, for seven years from 25 March 1724/5.

He was selected as the Mayor’s Child by William Applebee on 16 January 1732. On 11 May 1733 he took up a Chamberlain’s place and in October that year he was also appointed one of the two Cloth Searchers. In 1734 he was elected Junior Bailiff, and in 1736 one of the Mayor’s Assistants.

In September 1738 he was selected Mayor of Oxford for the first time (for 1738/9), choosing Thomas Wise as his Child and Edward Brown as his Chamberlain.

William's mother Elizabeth Ives was buried at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 2 January 1732/2, and his father William Ives senior on 28 December 1738. There is a monument high on the south wall of the tower leading to the nave commemorating his parents and their nine children (“quattuor fratres et quinque sorores”).

In 1744 Ives took up the post of Keykeeper, and in September 1749 he was a second time elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1749/50), with William Teazler as his Chamberlain.

In 1748 a certain Samuel Chettle “much affronted and abused Mr. Will. Ives, one of the City justices and also a member of the house”, and was disqualified from acting as a counsel in the city courts until he publicly asked Mr Ives’s pardon. Notwithstanding this, on 26 October 1754 there was an announcement in Jackson’s Oxford Journal that Ives & Chettoe, mercers and drapers, had entered into partnership. (It seems likely that Chettle and Chettoe were one and the same person.)

In 1755 Ives was made an Alderman; in 1757 a Barge Commissioner; and at some point around this time a Commissioner of Sewers.

Ives held various property in the city: for instance in 1751 he was given a lease of a property in St Ebbe’s (late Elizabeth Wisdom’s); in 1752 he was granted permission to build a vault or vaults under the south end of the Town Hall (then in process of being built), and also a lease of property (late Richard Blencoe’s) in St Michael’s parish; and in 1759 a lease of a shop in St Michael’s.

Ives, who started out as a grocer and ended up as a mercer, was also involved in the brewing trade. On 16 June 1759 an announcement in Jackson’s Oxford Journal stated that William Ives and Thomas Stevens, brewers and maltsters, denied the rumours that Ives was leaving the partnership. Three years later, however, on 28 August 1762, however, the same newspaper announced that the partnership in a brewery at Littlegate between Alderman Ives and Thomas Stevens was to be dissolved, and that Ives would continue alone.

In 1762 Ives accompanied the Mayor to London for the Coronation of King George III.


In September 1763 Ives began his third term as Mayor (for 1763/4), with William Tomkins as his Child and William Loder as his Chamberlain.

William Ives died during his term of office on 18 January 1764 and was buried inside St Mary-the-Virgin Church five days later.



Right: Diamond-shaped stone dedicated to William Ives in the floor of the nave of St Mary-the-Virgin Church. It reads simply: “W.I. 1764”.


Ives’s obituary in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 21 January 1764 reads:

On Wednesday died, from a sudden Attack of the Gout in his Stomach, William Ives, Esq; our present Mayor; who was also Senior Alderman, Father of the City, and one of the Commissioners of the Sewers. A gentleman who had twice before served the Office of Mayor of Oxford for this City with becoming Dignity; and who, as a Civil Magistrate, as active, prudent, and impartial; as a private Friend, cheerful, open, and generous: Hence his publick, as well as social Virtues, will render him deservedly regretted.—It is somewhat remarkable, that this is the only Gentleman who has died in the Mayoralty for this City, since the latter End of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, which is upwards of One Hundred and Sixty Years.

William Ives's widow, Mrs Mary Ives of Pennyfarthing (now Pembroke) Street, was his executrix, and debtors were asked to pay his surviving partner Mr Chettoe.

The following advertisement appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 20 April 1765:

To be Lett, or Sold, ALL the Premisses, late in the Occupation of Mr. Alderman IVES, deceased, situate at Little-Gate in Oxford; consisting of a genteel and commodious Dwelling-House, with a pleasant Garden; an exceeding good Brew-hose, Malt-house, Store-houses, Granaries, Stabling, extensive Yard Room, and every other Convenience for both Malting and Brewing. Enquire of Messrs. Walker and Morrell, Attornies in Oxford.

His estates in Oxford and Binsey were sold at the Wheatsheaf & Anchor in St Aldate’s.

A notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 16 April 1774 stated that Christopher Taylor, the illegitimate son of Avis Taylor (the former servant to late Alderman Ives), who had been bound to a cotton-cap maker in Worcestershire, should apply to a Shrewsbury lawyer “to hear something to his advantage”. It is possible that Ives was the father of this child, but he may have just been helping his servant.

Mary Ives, “widow of the late Alderman Ives”, died on 17 March 1783 and was buried with her husband inside St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 21 March.

They do not appear to have had any children.

See also:

  • Malcolm Graham, Oxford City Apprentices 1697–1800, entry numbered 1262
  • PCC Will PROB 11/896/80 (Will of William Ives, Mercer and Alderman of Oxford, proved 10 February 1764)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 8 May, 2021

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